Three things I have learnt because I am a twin...
I am lucky enough to be a twin. My brother and I are the best of friends and as teenagers we were the worst of enemies. We love to sing dramatic duets of the Grease mega-mix and take great enjoyment in quality time spent together - normally revolving around food and drink! As we have no other siblings we have no form of reference of what it is like to be raised with a sibling of a different age. All my friends have siblings younger or older and my boyfriend is the eldest of five kids, so I have spent time around families who have this dynamic different to ours.
As a sociologist I have thought a lot about what being raised as a twin has taught me and how it has altered my inner beliefs, values and outlook on the world. Although I would have loved to have done an academic study on how gender impacts being raised as fraternal twins, and perhaps may still do at some point, this blog post is a brief outline of what being raised as a twin has taught me.
Sharing really is caring
My brother and I share everything. We share parents, family members, surnames, homes, childhood memories, schools, our love of eating and drinking, a sense of humour (although he continuously tells me that I am not funny)…the list is endless. But the most obvious thing we share is our birthday. It sounds weird when the ‘Happy Birthday’ song is sung with only my name in it and I’ve found it difficult to adjust to getting older and spending our last two birthdays apart. As much as I moaned at times throughout the years about sharing, it is one of the biggest life lessons being a twin has taught me. You cannot be a twin without learning to share and it is key as we move through life and forge friendships and relationships.
You are never alone
We all experience times when we feel alone, but because of Lucas, I truly have never been alone. There was always someone at every milestone with me; learning to walk, my first day of school, holidays, GCSEs, results days, first jobs and new jobs, achieving dancing goals, graduation, starting my business - Lucas has always been there in some capacity. Equally, as we get older, I am comforted in the knowledge that because we were mangled together at birth, we will remain so for life. When you are a twin, as much as you sometimes wish he’d get out of your room at 8am to talk, you are truly never alone. This taught me that sometimes we don’t always see those who are always there to support us, even when they have been there all along.
We are all individuals in our own way
My brother and I are as close in DNA as we can be, without being identical twins and well frankly that’s not something I like to think about! But despite everything that makes us the same, we really are very different. Lucas has a brain for knowledge like no one I know and a memory to match. He started work after leaving college and progressed quickly as a ‘working man’. He enjoys holidays and trips away to watch sport and spending time eating and drinking with his friends and family, most notably my dad. He is quick witted, good fun and an all-round good person.
I, on the other hand, am highly competitive. I participate in everything I do to the best of my ability and have sacrificed many times throughout my dancing career to improve myself. I have two degrees and lasted six months in an office job, in comparison to Lucas’ 6 years. My limited free time is spent reading, spending time with my boyfriend and catching up with friends and family. I am, admittedly not as funny as Lucas is, but I do also enjoy eating out and a good cocktail. We are very similar, but also very different and that is what makes us, us. In the words of our mum, ‘if we were all the same, the world would be boring!’
When we were born, I was given a readymade best friend; someone to lean on when I needed it, someone to conspire with and make fun of our parents with. My mum and dad always joke that they only had to have children once, as they were given a boy and girl in one go - “buy one, get one free”. But I am so glad that they did.
I adore being a twin and couldn’t imagine my life without him near. Being a twin has altered the way I see the world and probably sparked my interest in sociology and feminism. Much to the amusement of my boyfriend, I find siblings of a different age hard to fathom and ask many questions about what it is like not to share the same experiences at the same time. Just like any brother, he frustrates me, we fall out and argue, but I’ll always have someone to celebrate the 19th May with and I will always, in him, find home.